Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Cosplayers Who Say... NI!

It's been a while since John and I had a new cosplay to show you guys, so I think it's time for a new Sneak Peek! (... which you Instagram followers have already had a few sneak peeks of. Heh.)

BEHOLD!!


And if that isn't ringing any bells, here, watch this:


Heck, watch it anyway; The Knights Who Say Ni never get old. :D

For those who can't watch a video right now, here's the shot that matters:

 NI!


This is a project John and I thought would be super fast and super easy, buuuut....

... not so much.

So something like 15 prototypes later, we FINALLY have what we *think* is the correct helmet shape:



This is our first time working with EVA foam, and even the horns are a thinner craft foam. The horns are held on with magnets, too, for easy transport and storage. The paint job is still a work in progress, but I think we're getting pretty close.

The goal is to have a bunch of these done in time for Dragon Con this year - and ultimately, to even have a template I can share with you guys, in case you want to join our merry band of shrubbery collectors. :) (John also plans to be the big tall guy on stilts, but one helmet at a time!)

We're a bit stumped on something, though, so maybe one of you can help:
See that trim around the eye slit on the right helmet?


That's also foam - a type of insulation trim cut in half - and the shape and size are perfect, but the texture is way too rough to pass for metal.


Spackle and caulk won't stick to it - it's spongey, so they just crack off - but we need to smooth out that texture. Any ideas? Right now my only thought is Worbla, but we've never worked with that before, and it's quite pricey.

Alternatively, any ideas for something *else* we could use to make that trim? It has to flex a little, so no clay or wood.

Anyhoo, suggestions and/or Much Rejoicing are welcome in the comments!


*****

Now, let's announce the winners of my Prince tribute pendants!

So, the winner of the white dove pendant is: Melanie Wood

And the winner of the 5-bead pendant is: Renee (of The Crown Of Beauty)

Congrats, ladies, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!

81 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Oh, and I have coated my art foam with gloss gel medium many times, which does have some flex, not sure if it has enough. You ought to be able to smooth out the texture with it, IF it has enough flex.

      Delete
    2. Also try silicone caulking (which makes great clear stamps too)

      Delete
    3. I second either silicone calking instead or use craft foam instead. if you want to use the current idea try wood glue then plastidip. another option would be epoxi sculpt though i'm not sure how flexible it is when dried.

      Delete
    4. Seconded (thirded?) on the PlastiDip. It is what ai use for LARPing crafts.

      Delete
  2. Yeah, seconding the tool dip. PlastiDip (the brush on kind would probably be better than the spray) is nice and rubbery and a bit sand-able. I used it on a pair of craft foam wings I made they look very nice and metal-y.

    The helmet looks great, I to say.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is awesome! Also, maybe I've been watching too much BSG, as if there is such a thing, but my first thought upon seeing all those helmets on the sofa was "Cylon graveyard." If you haven't watched it, or it's been a while, it's all on Hulu right now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sculpt-or-coat, flex bond or even white glue work really well to coat foam flexibly, you can even mix paint into the final layer to paint and seal in one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Second! Definitely try Sculpt-or-coat.

      Delete
    2. My theatrical supply company recommends Sculpt-or-coat as well :) it's fun stuff to play with!

      Delete
    3. Sculpt or coat is my favorite! I use it all the time.

      Delete
  5. Hello Jen, do you know sugru? It is a sort of silicone air drying moldable glue that I think would work well for that. It is easily available online and at some craft stores. You can check their website for many tutorials and instructions. I use it a lot and it is a great product. Thank you for all your great posts, I love them. Cheers. Aurelie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard of Sugru, but never worked with it. John went to buy some at Target today, and holy WOW is it expensive: $12 for about 3 sticks-of-gum worth! Since we need to make a bunch of these - and each would take like a whole *pack* of gum, heh - I don't think that's going to work. :(

      Delete
    2. It's been on sale at Amazon lately, if you want to check there. I've also been able to get it cheaper than Target on their own site as well as on The Grommet. Check around online, if you have the time, and you could probably find it cheaper. We LOVE Sugru, because it's helped us salvage some things we thought we wouldn't be able to use any longer.

      Delete
    3. Came over here to suggest Sugru, but yes - it's very expensive (but you guys would love it for other things - it's incredible). But I just thought: Model Magic. It smooths really nicely if you get it slightly damp just like clay would and it's light, flexible, and super cheap. It should stick on top of what you've got because it does hold glue pretty well since it's porous, but otherwise just use Model Magic exclusively for the whole thing. And it's available at Walmart and Target, so if you're crafting at 10pm and need a little more, you don't have to wait til morning for the craft store to open. :)

      Delete
  6. I just went to a great panel at Emerald City Comicon that raved about the Golden (which is the brand) gels, pastes and other paint additives for various cosplay options. I don't know what type of paint you are using, but the great thing about the additives is that they are very compatible with acrylic paints- you can even mix them with your paints before applying. They also said that the fabric paint additive (also Golden brand) is great for getting the paint to stick to foam, in case you see any sort of paint cracking on there. So those are some options I know of.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My husband is a foam armor crafter, and he swears by multi-coats of alternating modge-podge and watered down wood glue. He used that technique to make floral foam hold up to light sanding, so it'd probably help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second the glue approach! Wood glue, Modge Podge, or even layers of Elmer's glue can do wonders. It fills in the pores and gives you a smoother surface to work with, plus paint will stick to it.

      Delete
    2. I third the glue approach! We've worked with foam before on a low to non-existent budget, and layers of watered down Elmer's glue smoothed out the foam quite well.

      Delete
    3. Adding my thumbs up to the wood glue suggestion. It's been amazing so far for me for smoothing things down bit by bit with coats of it

      Delete
    4. Adding my thumbs up to the wood glue suggestion. It's been amazing so far for me for smoothing things down bit by bit with coats of it

      Delete
  8. Auto trim-weatherstripping might work.http://www.amazon.com/Fafada%C2%AED-Shape-Weather-Stripping-Seals-Hollow/dp/B011TXC59U/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1461846353&sr=1-2. Flexible and maybe the right shape?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or maybe this? http://ow.ly/4nd8Ox

      Delete
    2. I was thinking weather shipping, too

      Delete
  9. Rubber tubing or other various kinds of hosing could also work. Lots of flex, most should take a sealant/paint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we've been looking at tubing! Have trouble finding one exactly the right diameter, but I think we're checking Skycraft today.

      Delete
  10. I don't know if you have looked into Hot Wire tools for use on insulation and foam. They also sell products for use with foam insulation specifically. My husband works with their stuff to make Styrofoam terrain for miniatures. There a lots of tutorials on youtube, of course. (easy way to lose an hour or two right there.) Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  11. MY FAVORITE MOVIE! :D
    As for the helmet trim... I can only think to use the Fun Foam (craft store foam) since it's so easy to cut exact shapes. Hit it with a blow-dryer and then impress it with metal "pitting" using a wire brush or even a toothpick.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What about straws? Plastic ones, you could cut them in half and fill them in with cauk to get the right shape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, this is an interesting idea! I wonder if I could find big enough straws... or maybe really thin PVC or tubing?

      Delete
    2. Bubble tea straws would probably be big enough

      Delete
    3. Or the straws for those Tervis cups

      Delete
  13. Ditto-ing LAPEB BERNEX's suggestion of Sugru. It's the first thing I thought of when I saw your question.

    ReplyDelete
  14. To me, this looks just like a bead of weld, so I don't think it needs anything, but I know you love things to be perfect, so I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've worked with all sorts of foams before, and my suggestion is a good primer before a filler. In fact, they actually make filling primers which I really like. The easy to get one is made by Rustoleum (You can find it at Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Automotive-11-oz-Filler-Primer-Flat-Gray-Spray-Paint-249279/202097276). You just spray a thin layer first, then add thicker layers over the top. Once a few layers are built up, you can sand it.

    I've used this technique on hard porous foams, not insulation foam, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    ReplyDelete
  16. We just finished Spamalot the Musical what a fun show! I love working with Worbla it is pricey but you can use all your scraps. I have also had some luck with very fine sandpaper on foam. Another alternative is to glue fabric over the foam and then paint. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking that gluing fabric over the top would work too. We used that technique to cover all kinds of things (seams between flats, chicken wire covered 2x4s to make trees or stone walls) when I was in college theater.

      Delete
  17. Sugru could work - it's a sticky clay that is semi-flexible after it dries (apply with wet hands to make a smooth surface). https://sugru.com/
    I've never worked with it, but Thribra seems like it might work for you (heat-activated plastic sheets which can be shaped over a mold). http://www.thibra.com/

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was going to suggest either Mod Podge to coat the foam and fill in all the pores as well as provide a smooth surface OR some form of cable coating? I'm sure I've seen these lenths of flexible plastic tubes with a slit up one edge that are intended to clip on round other items, but not being terribly DIY I've no idea what the term is for them!

    I also hope you'll be doing your best English accents for this and have got an Arthur and Sir Bedivere waiting to prompt you :) Call me masochistic but I've always found it amusing how difficult a good English accent can apparently be!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've had great luck with Fast Mache sticking to all *kinds* of things. (A friend of mine discovered it when we were making her Disney-themed wedding centerpieces (used it heavily to turn a pile of hot-glued Styrofoam chunks into the Matterhorn, amongst other things) and I later discovered that it works pretty well on masks, etc with a little patience/practice, and it's *definitely* sand-able!) http://www.michaels.com/sculpture-and-modeling/paper-sculpture-and-paper-m%C3%A2ch%C3%A9/845166643

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was thinking you could cover the foam in metallic tape. I think sugru is expensive, but maybe not in the world of cosplay. Also, it's quite possible it's come down in price since I purchased it years ago (and paid for shipping to Alaska, so my cost estimate may be skewed). GOOD LUCK!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think it looks good as it is. It looks like soldered metal.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What about plastic v-shaped weatherstripping? It's peel off and stick on, and I think it would flex with the helmet.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You could try coating the existing foam with fingernail polish before adding the metallic paint effect. Or maybe buffing/sanding the foam to smooth it before painting? Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Try a product called "sculpt or coat" I've had good luck with it sticking to foam and filling in gaps.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wonder if you could water down some diamond glaze, I would imagine that would fill up all the pores pretty well.
    But I really like it the way it looks, it looks more like a weld.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I would use wood glue for the trim, used it to even out and prime the Hyrulian Shield as a Bday Present for my husband and it worked perfectly =)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I had great success on a robot costume putting Rub N Buff over (cooled) hot glue. The two worked together perfectly!

    ReplyDelete
  28. FloraCraft makes a product called Smooth Finish which is used to make regular styrofoam smooth. I am not sure it would work on this type of foam, but it's worth a shot. It's paintable too.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Jen & John - you could also try the Flex Seal products. It is a flexible rubberized sealer that comes in a spray can or a caulking tube. If you use the type in a tube - run a wet finger over the bead to smooth it out finger (preferably with a rubber glove on so it doesn't stick to your finger). Good luck with the projects and I can't wait to see the pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  30. part of me wonders if toothpaste would work. plain white stuff, left to dry solid (like when SOMEONE leaves the cap off.).. i've used it in lieu of polyfilla for holes in walls.... #innocentwhistle

    ReplyDelete
  31. Magnets for the horns = brilliant!

    I was going to suggest Sugru but price could definitely be an issue. (You can buy it retail? I have to mail order!)

    As someone mentioned, it sort of looks welded now, which isn't necessarily terrible. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also: some of the air-dry clays have some flex even when they're dry - depends on how flexible you need it to be. Hearty Clay is very light-weight, but it might shrink a little, and it has a slight texture - not totally smooth.

      P.S. Now you have me wanting a helmet. :p

      Delete
  32. Sugru is not what you are looking for. It's great for small applications such as adding rubber feet to things, protecting headphone cords, putting two things together. It's like a moldable rubber putty. It's expensive and it expires.

    If you want to use the foam and just smooth it out, try Amazing Goop. It's similar to Sugru but comes in 4oz tubes... it stinks though and takes a while to set.

    Also, a craft filler could work. I can't find the name of my favorite, but may of them will fill in anything and smooth things out. Bondo might work. So too might wood glue or wood putty.

    Have you considered just using a silicone plaster? or Paper Mache? Don't be afraid of Worbla. It is expensive, but you get the exact results you want and you don't need much for this.

    Also, where did you find those horns? I was looking for some for an Odin Helmet last year and found nothing good.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What about using caulk or even hot glue for the whole of the rm and then painting it? Or have you tried smoothing it out with paper clay or liquid latex? You might try FX silicone makeup too

    ReplyDelete
  34. That said, I really don't think it looks so bad as it. It looks like a kinda crappy old school bead of welding.

    ReplyDelete
  35. NI!

    -Piper P from Washington State

    ReplyDelete
  36. So I haven't read all the comments, so forgive me if this is a repeat. Have you thought about nail polish? It's pretty good at filling in divots to get a smooth finish and clings to most materials. Just an idea. Good luck, it looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've had success with using a dremel on foam before for the edges of my armour and for other detailing, if you use a sandstone bit, and its going at enough speed it 'melts'it -I would suggest trying it on a separate piece and then gluing it on with a decent contact cement. Using chalking can work as well after the dremeling but it can sometimes take quite a lot of coats (wetting it down and smoothing it each time with a finger dipped in water) and if the chalking gets heat on it from a heatgun it can blister. So it you are presealing your Eva Foam with a heatgun do that first before adding the chalking.

    ReplyDelete
  38. There's this material used in electrical work...it's a sleeve you slide a wire into and then shrink it down with a heat gun. It might work in place of your foam if you sliced it lenth-wise. It doesn't have much stiffness, so you'd probably want to stuff it with something to keep in 'inflated'. Alternately, you could try smoothing/filling your foam using a material that doesn't work with foam - i.e. that melts it. Some spray paints do that. You might also be able to iron it smooth with heat. These last suggestions will probably create more mess than than they resolve, but you never know.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What about trying to paint it with nail polish or rubber cement or something to make it smoother first, then painting the nail polish/rubber cement layer once it dries? I'm not super crafty, but both those things tend to stick well to lots of things one doesn't necessarily want them sticking to, so it might work....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, have you ever looked at the Knights' Wikipedia page? It's surprisingly informative. :D

      Delete
  40. Have you considered coating it with Mod Podge or Gesso?

    ReplyDelete
  41. oh lord. now we're going to have to appease you and John with Shrubbery or cut down the mightiest oak in the forest with a herring. sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Have you attempted to use a wood burner?

    ReplyDelete
  43. I think you are over thinking this. And being too picky.
    I LIKE the edging the way it is. It looks like a way it would look back in the day when they made these helmets. The would have to cut and peel and then fold and heat and make a seam around the opening, right? (In my mind, that's how it would work). What you have there looks EXACTLY like that, and with the totally awesome and really amazing coloring you have already done on the helmet --- I think you should leave it as is. If I saw you in that I would not be looking at the non-smooth seam around the opening. No, I'd be looking at those awesome horns and terrific aging/coloring, and be thinking to myself (or maybe saying out loud) "How can you SEE through that slit???"
    Stop fussing with it -- it looks great.
    Maureen S

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is so amazing! And I want to watch Holy Grail, now! :) "A path! A path!"

    ReplyDelete
  45. It looks fine. Really. My idea (which you probably already tried) was actually plain old white glue. It's surprised me before... Good luck though!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am so excited to see the finished product! I'm a huge Monty Python fan, and this is looking great so far!

    ReplyDelete
  47. You could try a styrofoam sealant or a silicone aquarium sealant to get the desired texture. We had to paint large styrofoam "candies" for a Nutcracker show and used a product similar to Smooth Finish to make them paintable and create a shiny, candy-like finish.

    FOUND IT! It's a scenic painting supply used to seal polystyrene for painting called FoamCoat by Rosco. This stuff is amazing!!! https://www.rosco.com/scenic/foamcoat.cfm

    ReplyDelete
  48. You could try a styrofoam sealant or a silicone aquarium sealant to get the desired texture. We had to paint large styrofoam "candies" for a Nutcracker show and used a product similar to Smooth Finish to make them paintable and create a shiny, candy-like finish.

    FOUND IT! It's a scenic painting supply used to seal polystyrene for painting called FoamCoat by Rosco. This stuff is amazing!!! https://www.rosco.com/scenic/foamcoat.cfm

    ReplyDelete
  49. Do you guys know about Sugru? It would work awesome there, & I'm sure you would come up with scads of uses for it. Not cheap, but you would only need a little for this application & it would be perfect. Go on their website & check it out--it will give you tons of ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'd suggest Oogoo, a diy Sugru substitute made from silicone caulk and cornstarch - cheap and readily available ingredients, and it'll keep indefinitely since you can mix it as needed. You'd have a lot of control of firmness and curing time, and I've found that adding liquid watercolors to the uncured mixture works well if you want a darker base color - it should take the metallic paint well once cured.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>